Friday, January 16, 2009

Let The Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in)

Yesterday I had to take the day off from work to take care of some car issues- repairs, oil changes and re-inspection. I tend to let these things slide for too long.

I had to drive past a movie theater on the way home, I only knew the theater as one of the few places I could go to take my daughter to see the 3-D Jonas Brothers concert film.

That was IF my daughter knew anything about it, I am doing my best to make sure that by the time she hears about said film she will be a surly teenager too busy hating me to be interest in such things.

Anyway imagine my surprise when I saw that said theater was showing Let the Right One In aka Låt den rätte komma in- a romantic horror film from Sweden about Vampirism

Now let it be known that while I certainly love it when horror and heartbreak mix I don’t like it when vampires are portrayed as figures of romance. Anne Rice did it perfectly in Interview with the Vampire and Poppy Z. Brite did a great turn on the subject with Lost Souls but I find that for me most of the other works on the subject read like Harlequin romances with crushed velvet and capes.

I should note that most people do like these kinds of stories as we can see from the success of things like the Anita Blake and Twilight series of novels. They just don’t work for me- and since I don’t like the movies Ghostbusters or Buckaroo Banzai my tastes can be seen as a little off.

Maybe it’s because I was raised on vampire films starring Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee but I prefer my vampires to be imperious and cruel, selfish and broken, erotic and pathetic.

Maybe that’s why I can count on my one hand the number of post 1970’s vampire films that have truly sent shivers down my spine- Near Dark, Fright Night, Marebito. What do these films have in common? No fangs and romantic longing.

(It should also be noted that I loved the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel TV shows but they always felt more pulp adventure than horror to me. Again your mileage varies and let’s not forget that I have Olivia Newton John and Nine Inch Nails on my iPod so my tastes are suspect.)

So as you can see as I really wasn’t all that interested in Let the Right One In at first glance but a fantastic cover story about the film in a recent issue of Rue Morgue magazine piqued my interest and it stayed piqued- I had planned to rent the film when it came out on DVD or pay per view but here the movie was right in front of me.

I had time to kill so why not? I bought my ticket and headed into the cinema. The place was a large standalone building, one half had the standard multiplex format but the other half was set aside for what were called the ‘bistro theaters’. Apparently it was where all he foreign and artsy fartsy films were kept well away from the likes of Alvin and the Chipmunks and Tomb Raider. Well it was a nice enough set up and hey instead of popcorn they served chocolate cake.

Now THAT is a movie theater.

I headed in to the theater itself and saw that it was about the size of one of my old apartments- just with arena style seating and no d20’s scattered all over the floor.

And I had the whole damn place to myself.

Well it was a weekday matinee.

Awesome. I sat dead center in the place and relaxed.

About two minute before showtime a young couple came in.

Under ordinary circumstances I prefer to watch horror films alone or with trusted friends, when you go out to the movies your enjoyment is suddenly dependent on whether or not there are any assholes in the audience with you.

There is a simple rule in my world, the only way you are allowed to chatter away in the theater with me is if you are either a former cast member of Mystery Science Theater or a supermodel gently massaging my junk.

I am not sure how I would react to one of the former cat members of Mystery Science Theater gently massaging my junk but I think the end result would be a dramatic increase in my meds.

Let the Right One In began, it began with out previews, it just started. A film without previews is kind of like making love without foreplay and if you want more details about that I’ll give you my wife’s email address.

The screen was too small for my tastes, the exit signs were too bright but with ten minutes the real world had faded away and I was in the world this movie had created.

The directing was perfect, the imagery unexpected and lyrical. The story itself weaves the myth of the vampire with the true life horror of childhood.

This film was brutally honest in its depiction of the world of a 12 year old, and the kids themselves feel like real kids- not the quippy little creatures that occupy most main stream Hollywood films.

(Be it known that in my stories most of the kids I write turn out pretty damn quippy too. It must be an American thing.)

Every element in the film was handled with such a deft touch that even now almost a day later I am still turning the film over in my head when I should be writing stories of how I failed to get laid through most of my twenties.

When the film ended and house the lights came up I remembered there were other people there with me as well. They had been as quiet as I was and as the credits rolled we actually talked about the film for a few moments. It was a very nice close to my experience with the film.

Of course now I want to see it again but I don’t think I could manage to have my car break down a second time.

Then again knowing my car…

In conclusion, see this movie, because Let the Right One In is at once the sweetest and most terrifying thing I have ever seen. I think some of the images in it will haunt me forever.

For my money this film will be seen as a classic in years to come.

Oh by the way, did you hear that Hollywood is already planning a remake?


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